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Raving Iran

Arash and Anoosh are Deep-House-DJ’s in Teheran organizing raves in remote desert locations. Back in Teheran, they struggle with absurd prohibitions and regulations until they get a call from Zurich.


RAVING IRAN shows images of the underground house scene in Tehran taken with a smartphone under pervasive danger and constant fear of the police. The people at risk aren’t just DJs Arash and Anooush but also the ravers, printers, restaurant owners, and shopkeepers. At the same time RAVING IRAN shows the incredible bravery of the Iranian underground.
Anoosh keeps looking outside the window of his small home studio and keeps seeing men standing outside his door. The police beat him within an inch of his life once when they arrested him at a rave, he tells a friend. A scar on his forehead is evidence of that. But someone always knows someone who dares to step outside the rules, someone who found a new trick that upholds the façade of fascist conformity while something else entirely is happening. The lie is the system’s principle, says a cd seller, the government loves being lied to. In point of fact there is always a certain degree of cheating everywhere. In the Islamic cultural ministry the female head has put her hijab way above her hairline and smiles knowingly as she says “everyone wants a woman who sings” only to reject Arash and Anoosh’s application that would allow them to perform with a female frontwoman. Only “traditional” music is allowed, and women can only dress “traditionally” and be in the background. The hijabs are even looser in private functions, in Tehran’s hip restaurant district they are around the neck with long blonde hair hanging over clothes. The system is ridiculous but going against it is life-threatening.
The faces of the ravers are disguised except for Arash and Anoosh’s. Putting on an illegal rave requires immense effort. 40 people drive for the entire day at a steep price and reach a no man’s land, a place where you can’t even hear the camel shepherds anymore. Things aren’t looking good. Arash is arrested at a raid and goes to jail where he is crammed in a cell with 50 people until his parents get him out of there.
Sometimes their enthusiasm and desire to escape oppression is reminiscent of the underground of the GDR, like when they surf online searching for events and clubs where they can send their DIY CDs. Their enthusiasm pays off when they get an invitation to a street parade in Zurich and even succeed in getting a visa. They immediately research the asylum possibilities in Switzerland and read about the xenophobia there. Anoosh calls his mom from Switzerland and she says: “stay there. We don’t want you to come back. I should have gone as well and now I’ve been sitting here for 40 years.” But Arash has been feeling homesick since the second day…
Susanne Regine Meures has shot a documentary with a thriller-like plot with great sound and fantastic images that occasionally alludes to what can’t be shown. I have yet to see a less sentimental and pressing documentary about people thinking about applying for asylum in Europe or a better film about house music for that matter.

Tom Dorow

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Schweiz 2016, 90 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Susanne Regina Meures
Author: Susanne Regina Meures
DOP: Gabriel Lobos, Susanne Regina Meures
Montage: Rebecca Trösch
Music: Ghazal Shakeri
Distributor: Rise and Shine Cinema
FSK: 6
Release: 29.09.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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